Dickens was born in Gulu and has lived here his whole life, minus some short stints with family in Jinja and Kiryandongo. He stays on his own in senior quarters but visits his family at least once a week. It’s unusual for a young person not to stay with his family according to Acholi culture, but his self-sufficiency is important to him. By his own admission, he needs a different environment. “I want to experience life on my own and not be dependent in one way or another,” he says frankly.
One day, he’ll go to film school near Kampala, but for now, he’s drawn to anything involving a camera. He originally wanted to study filmmaking or mass communications at university, but the course wasn’t available at his local college. His family wanted him to stay close, so he majored in public administration at Gulu University instead.
At Elephante, Dickens combines his technical skills and passion for filmmaking as part of the media team, using a tactic he calls “marketing via media.” The message he wants to send is related to the region’s recovery since the insurgency by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) ended. “The message is about the Gulu life and erasing the mindset of Gulu being war-torn. Gulu is way different now. We like the same movies as those from other countries. We have dance classes and yoga, which happens almost anywhere. The vlogging team is bridging the gap between us and other people who haven’t been in Gulu lately, for them to know exactly what happens in Gulu compared to the stories from those days and what people know from that time.”
Dickens also loves to be in front of the lens as an actor and later watches his footage for his own enjoyment, but he "doesn’t like the tenor of his recorded voice," he says with a self-conscious laugh. “I always try to watch myself without listening too closely,” he says with a wink.